Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 1, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Saudi Princes "Linked" to bin Laden - David Rennie (Telegraph-UK)
    Time magazine carries details from a new book alleging that Abu Zubaidah, the leading al-Qaeda terrorist captured in Pakistan last year, was duped into revealing details of support from members of the Saudi royal family.
    Why America Slept, by Gerald Posner, claims that Zubaidah resisted CIA interrogation, despite the use of "quick-on, quick-off" painkillers and truth drugs.
    Posner describes how, in an attempt to frighten Zubaidah, he was moved to a fake Saudi interrogation chamber, manned by Arab-American special forces masquerading as Saudi police.
    "His reaction was not fear, but utter relief," Posner writes. Zubaidah recited telephone numbers for one Saudi prince, informing the fake Saudis the prince would "tell you what to do."
    The prince died of a heart attack, aged 43, last year. Two other princes named in the book as al-Qaeda paymasters have also died.

    See also Confessions of a Terrorist - Johanna McGeary (TIME)
    Zubaidah, writes Posner, said the Saudi connection ran through Prince Turki al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, the kingdom's longtime intelligence chief.
    Zubaidah said bin Laden "personally" told him of a 1991 meeting at which Turki agreed to let bin Laden leave Saudi Arabia and to provide him with secret funds as long as al-Qaeda refrained from promoting jihad in the kingdom.
    The Pakistani contact, high-ranking air force officer Mushaf Ali Mir, entered the equation, Zubaidah said, at a 1996 meeting in Pakistan also attended by Zubaidah.
    Bin Laden struck a deal with Mir, then in the military but tied closely to Islamists in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, to get protection, arms, and supplies for al-Qaeda.
    Zubaidah told interrogators bin Laden said the arrangement was "blessed by the Saudis."

Peres, Barak, Sarid on Hamas's Deck of "Most-Wanted" - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas has distributed copies of a poster depicting top Israeli leaders on a deck of cards, in imitation of the U.S. cards of wanted Iraqi officials, in several West Bank and Gaza Strip cities.
    The poster, which also appears on the Hamas Web site, portrays Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres, and former Meretz leader Yossi Sarid, as well as senior security officials, as wanted by Hamas.

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  • Saudi Fighters Cross Border to Kill "Infidels"
    There have been signs for months, despite official denials, that Saudi extremists are traveling to Iraq to take on U.S.-led forces, Saudi journalists who monitor Islamic militancy say. Iraqi police Saturday said at least two Saudis were among more than a dozen foreigners and Iraqis arrested in connection with the bombing Friday that killed at least 85 at Iraq's holiest Shi'ite Muslim shrine. In recent months, Saudi fighters in Iraq reportedly have called friends back home and told them about successful operations in an effort to recruit more fighters. Khalid al-Ghannami, a Saudi writer and columnist, said two of his neighbors went to fight in Iraq. The younger brother, a teenager, was killed there and eulogized on a Web site as a martyr. He said the borders between Saudi Arabia and Iraq are porous. (AP/Washington Times)
        See also Saudi Crackdown Encourages Iraq Jihad, Clerics Say
    Saudi militants, facing a clampdown at home, are heading to Iraq for a holy war against the American "Satan," clerics and analysts say. (Reuters)
        See also Who Attacked the Najaf Mosque in Iraq?
    Maj. Rick Hall, executive officer of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, offered three scenarios for those behind the attack: former Baath Party operatives working with foreigners, rivals of [religious leader Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir] Hakim within the Shiite community, and his former allies in Iran seeking "some sort of retribution." Many refused to accept the possibility that rivalries among Shiites were to blame. However fierce the contest for power, no Shiite could desecrate a shrine so sacred to the faith. More often, they pointed to loyalists of Hussein or Wahhabis, a Sunni Muslim fundamentalist sect dominant in Saudi Arabia with a history of enmity toward Shiites. In an intersection in nearby Hilla, a banner blamed Wahhabis. Underneath was written, "Revenge, revenge, revenge." (Washington Post)
  • Taliban Raids Widen in Afghanistan
    The Taliban, backed by new volunteers from Pakistan, are regrouping and steadily expanding their attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials, Western diplomats, and captured fighters. Not only are American forces being attacked, but so are Afghan policemen, aid workers, and midlevel officials. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Attacks Continue - Yaakov Katz and Margot Dudkevitch
    Meir Ohayon, an Israeli truck driver loading produce at the Gaza Strip town of Rafiah Yam, was shot and wounded seriously Sunday by Palestinian sniper fire from Rafah. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Five Palestinian mortars landed in Neve Dekalim in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday night, damaging some homes. Palestinians also fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF position in Rafiah Yam near the border with Egypt. On Sunday an Israeli Arab was moderately wounded when Palestinians opened fire at a group of construction workers building the security fence south of Kalkilya. Col. Shuki Rinsky, head of operations in the Gaza division, said in the past week, 14 Kassam rockets, 16 anti-tank rockets, and 72 mortar shells were fired at Israeli communities and IDF positions. "The Palestinian Authority is doing nothing to stop or thwart the terrorist activities," he said, adding, "An example of this is the Kassam rocket launcher found on Friday near a Palestinian Police position not far from the Erez crossing." (Jerusalem Post)
  • IAF Kills Two Hamas Terrorists in Gaza - Margot Dudkevitch
    Two Hamas terrorists were killed when IAF helicopters fired four missiles into their commercial van near the entrance to the El-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday. One of those killed was Abdullah Ali Ibrahim Akel, 37, a senior Hamas field commander involved in numerous attacks against Israel who, according to IDF officials, was driving to a nearby warehouse to pick up Kassam rockets when he was hit. Israel has vowed to continue targeting Hamas officials due to the failure of the PA to rein in the group, confiscate its weapons, and arrest those involved in Kassam rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Postpone Confidence Vote on Abbas Due to U.S. Pressure - Arnon Regular and Aluf Benn
    The Palestinian Legislative Council decided to postpone the vote of confidence in the government of Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas from Monday to Thursday. U.S. officials have told the Palestinian leadership that if Abbas's government falls, the U.S. will withdraw its support for the road map and for an independent Palestinian state, Israel Radio reported Sunday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas's Impending Fall - Danny Rubinstein
    The Palestinian public is no longer asking if the government of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is going to fall, but when it will happen. Its very raison d'etre was to achieve a cease-fire. During the weeks of cease-fire, the government was supposed to reorganize the Palestinian security services, conduct reforms in the government, and start implementing the road map.
        Abbas's government was weakened most not by its policy but by the growing feeling in the public that the government was not 100% loyal to the interests of the Palestinian people. Yasser Arafat helped quite a bit to strengthen that feeling. The public in the West Bank and Gaza is growing ever more suspicious that Abbas's government is serving foreign interests more than it is serving the Palestinians. Too many foreigners want the government to succeed: the Americans, Europeans, Egyptians, Jordanians, and even the Israeli enemy. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • To Rescue Islam From Jihad, Muslims Must Look Within - Donald K. Emmerson
    For three years now, acts of violence done in Allah's name have made terrorism and Islam almost synonymous, not just in Westerners' vocabularies but around the world. Who will rescue Islam from the jihadists who have distilled their faith to sacred hatred - of Americans, Christians, Jews, and the millions upon millions of moderate or secular Muslims who disdain this perversion from within? For some in the West, the enemy is not jihadists but all Islamists. Never mind that the vast majority of Muslims who promote their faith do so peacefully. Reformers deserve American support. But preventing the status quo from getting worse may be a more realistic goal of such help than winning "hearts and minds" for humanism, let alone making the Muslim world look as secular and democratic as, say, Turkey. The democracy Americans espouse remains popular in the Muslim world. American notions of equal treatment for women are less welcome. It is not up to Americans to rescue Islam. Non-Muslims can facilitate liberal reform. But it is Muslims, acting in diverse local circumstances, who will or won't break the cycle of jihadist demonization and naive denial that is ruining the image of their religion. Whether to rescue their faith is a choice only they can make. The writer is a senior fellow in the Stanford Institute for International Relations. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Arafat Rebounds (Again) - Joshua Hammer
    Arafat still has the loyalty of 28,000 troops (and their commanders) who are paid by a security unit he controls. He uses Fatah's Central Committee and the Palestinian Legislative Council to block reforms: when Abbas's finance minister, Salam Fayyad, tried to force into retirement 600 of Arafat's elderly Fatah cronies, Arafat bullied the legislature into rejecting the plan. Arafat appoints governors and mayors, and maintains a personal war chest of $30 million a year, doling out cash to supplicants. Arafat named Jibril Rajoub, his former West Bank head of Preventive Security, to the previously unfilled post of national-security adviser. Palestinian sources say that Rajoub will likely preside over a new council that will control all 53,000 men in the security forces - and answer only to Arafat. That could sideline Mohammed Dahlan, who now serves as the director of Abbas's security apparatus. In remarks to Newsweek, Rajoub declared, "We need a united command and Arafat will run it." The Bush administration is furious. U.S. and Israeli officials believe that Arafat has supported armed resistance and winked at terror for the past three years. "By preventing the consolidation of the Palestinian security forces under Prime Minister Abbas, Yasser Arafat undercuts the fight against terrorism," a White House spokeswoman said last week. (Newsweek)
  • Palestinian Leadership Must Go, Says Saudi Editor - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The editor of the London-based, Saudi-affiliated daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Abd Al-Rahman al-Rashed, on Friday launched a scathing attack on the Palestinian Authority and accused its leaders of working for personal interests. Headlined "The Palestinian Leadership Must Go," Rashed wrote of "the Ramallah leadership": "Isn't it shameful that these are the figures dragging the entire Arab world into a struggle that they describe as 'central,' while, in its present is no more than a personal farce?" He said the current Palestinian leadership will neither fight nor make peace. "This leadership wants neither a solution nor land; nothing interests it except its own personal battles." The Arab governments "are faced by a president who claims to be elected, and a prime minister whom he appointed but wouldn't give any powers." "It's time for the Palestinian leadership to realize that it must go, be it the leadership of Abu Amar [Arafat] or of Abu Mazen....There is no real leadership that bears responsibility and is ready to sacrifice its own interests and posts in order to accomplish the task for which it was elected....Is it with such a lame leadership that the Palestinians will free their land? Should we enter into conflict with the rest of the world for the sake of these individuals?" (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    The Demonology of SE Asian Islamists - Michael Danby (Jerusalem Post)

    • As justification for their murderous acts in Bali, two of the known Indonesian perpetrators, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Imam Samudra, have focused their rhetoric on revenge "against the Jews," despite the fact that there are no Jews in Indonesia. Riduan Isamuddin ("Hambali") and Abu Bakr Bashir, the secular and spiritual masterminds of Jemaah Islamiah and that atrocity, also have a zealous hatred of Jews and the Jewish state. They are convinced that the Jews are plotting to take over Indonesia, and indeed the world, and subvert Islam. Throughout the recent trials of the Bali bombers, the salience of Jew-hatred in the demonology of the Islamic terrorists has been clearly and widely exposed by the bombers. Imam Samudra says the Bali bombing was designed "to carry out my responsibility to wage global jihad against Jews and Christians throughout the world."
    • The Southeast Asian focus on the Jews is a new phenomenon. Most of the Indonesian archipelago was converted to Islam between the 12th and 16th centuries, but Islam rapidly adapted itself to Indonesian culture, absorbing many elements of its Buddhist, Hindu, and Animist past. Since Indonesians are not Arabs, Indonesian (Hanafi) Islam was unaffected by the waves of Islamic extremism which periodically flowed through the Arab Islamic world.
    • Over the past 20 years, however, as Indonesians have become wealthier, better educated, and more travelled, they have become more aware of world events such as the Israel-Palestine conflict and the Islamic revolution in Iran. Poor Indonesian youth are attending religious schools (madrassas) and some of them are being indoctrinated by Wahhabist preachers funded from Saudi Arabia. The result has been to reconnect Indonesian Islam with the Islamist strand of the Arab world, with its prevalent strains of anti-Western and anti-Semitic ideology.
    • As the Bali bombing showed, Australia has a lot at stake in the future direction of Indonesian Islam. Australia's Jewish community also has a lot at stake, for if a significant number of young Indonesians agree with the paranoid rantings of Amrozi and Imam Samudra, their anti-Semitic phobias might lead them to look for real Jews rather than imaginary ones to target next time.

    The writer, an MP for Melbourne Ports, is secretary of the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Friends of Israel.

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